Monday, August 13, 2007

Guava Pudding

This recipe is one of those that I invented as a teenager in Belize. Several guava trees grow right outside our cookhouse, which is where all the kitchen action takes place. If we managed to beat the fruit flies and the birds to the fruit, I would can them by cooking the guavas in water until soft, then blending them to a pulp (sort of like a guava applesauce) and putting them through a sieve to get rid of the thousands of tiny, iron-hard seeds.

This guava pulp was the base for one of my all-time favorite desserts and a personal invention: baked guava pudding. I like it so much that I have even made it in DC after bringing guava pulp up from Belize (warning: this is definitely not something you want exploding in your luggage, so wrap it well!). Guava pulp like the kind that I made at home cannot be found in the USA as far as I am aware, but I think you could substitute half melted guava jelly and half guava juice and still get good results. Try to find organic if you can-but I'm not sure that it's available unless you go to our farm. Please let me know if you find some!

Guava Pudding

Wet Ingredients:

2 1/2 Cups Guava Pulp (or 1 1/4 cup guava juice and 1 1/4 cup melted guava jelly. To melt, mix juice and jelly together and heat in the microwave or stove top, stirring until the jelly dissolves.)

1/2 Cup melted Vegetable Shortening or Butter

1 1/2 Cups Organic "raw" Sugar (if using guava jelly, 1 cup sugar should be sufficient)

2 Organic Eggs or 1/2 cup Eggbeaters

Dry Ingredients:

1 Cup Organic All Purpose Flour

1 Cup Organic Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

3 Tsp Baking Powder

1 Tsp Salt

1/2 Tsp Lime Zest

1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp Nutmeg

1/4 Tsp Cloves

Topping for Pudding:

3-4 Tbsp Lime Juice

Approximately 1/2 cup Organic Brown (raw) Sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together guava pulp (or jelly and juice), melted shortening or butter, sugar and eggs (or eggbeaters).

2. Mix together dry ingredients and add in three parts, stirring after each addition, to the wet ingredients.

3. Pour into a greased and floured mold or baking pan (you can even use a metal bowl if you don't have anything else lying around). Place the pan or mold upright in a shallow pan of water, and bake until a knife inserted in the center of the pudding comes out almost clean. This can take up to an hour-in our wood burning stove at home it depended on how hot I could get the oven!

4. If you plan on unmolding the pudding let it cool for at least 15 minutes before turning it out, otherwise just cut into squares and serve with the lime juice topping. To make it, heat the sugar and lime juice in a small pan until the sugar dissolves. Pour over the pudding and serve.

This pudding is moist, and rich in tropical guava flavour. If thats your kind of thing, then this is the perfect exotic dessert for your next dinner party. You could even bake it in individual ramekins for a more elegant touch. On the other hand, if you dont like guava as a rule, then this probably isn't for you. I don't have the calorie breakdown, but given the sugar and fat content, I doubt it is very low-this is a dessert after all!

This recipe calls for organic whole wheat pastry flour, eggs and sugar. Obviously you can substitute factory farmed eggs and bleached white sugar and flour, but the flavour wont be as good. I just cant in good conscience promote the use of eggs from chickens that have never seen the light of day-animal rights issues aside, these eggs are not as flavourful nor as good for you as those of chickens who run around in a pasture and get a varied diet. In the same vein, ultra-refined white sugar just doesnt have the same depth of flavour that raw cane sugar does.

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